Is there relief on nursing home expenses?

My mother recently had to move into a nursing home. My sister and I are paying the fees, together with her medical expenses. Is there any tax relief for this expense?

Tax relief is available for your mother’s health expenses paid for by you and your sister. The relief can only be claimed on expenses not already covered or reimbursed by health insurance.

The main health expenses on which relief can be claimed are:

Doctors’ and consultants’ fees

Drugs/medicines prescribed by a doctor

Treatment in an approved hospital or nursing home (a list of approved hospitals and nursing homes is available from the Revenue website )

The supply, maintenance and repair of medical equipment used on the advice of a practitioner

Physiotherapy or similar prescribed treatment

Expenses of kidney patients

Non-routine dental work

If you claim relief for prescribed drugs or medicines you should be aware that only amounts up to €85 can be claimed in any one calendar month. Where the cost of prescribed drugs exceeds €85 in any month then the excess can be claimed under the Drugs Payment Scheme. The scheme is for individuals, families and their dependents who do not hold medical cards and its aim is to limit the amount they have to spend on prescriptions. Further information about the drug payment scheme is available from pharmacies and local health offices.

If you were to care for your mother in your own home, or employed someone to do so, there is tax relief available if certain conditions are satisfied.

If you have paid health expenses for yourself, your family or any other qualifying dependents prior to 2007, Revenue will allow you to go back four years to claim relief on those expenses.

Finally you should be aware that the HSE runs a subvention scheme. This is a means tested scheme which provides a grant towards the cost of care in a private nursing home. The applicant (your mother ) must also be medically assessed as requiring long term residential care. The HSE will provide up to €300 per week towards the cost to qualifying applicants. Further information is available from local health offices.

Health expense relief can be claimed in two ways. For self assessed individuals the claim for relief can be made on your annual income tax return (Form 11 ). The dependent relative tax credit can also be claimed on the form.

PAYE workers can claim relief for health expenses by completing a Form Med 1. You can download this from Revenue’s website or it can be completed on Revenue’s online service www.ros.ie The form can also be obtained from your local Revenue office.

My family and I have had to make many visits to the dentist in the past year, which cost us a lot of money. I’ve had crowns replaced, my children have had various orthodontic treatments, including braces and one got her wisdom teeth out. What dental work qualifies for tax relief and how do I claim it? If we go overseas to get the rest of this work done will that qualify for relief as well?

Health expense relief can only be claimed on non-routine dental work.

Tax relief is not available for the cost of scaling, extraction and filling of teeth and the provision and repair of artificial teeth and dentures. These procedures are excluded even where they are carried out due to an underlying medical condition. Some relief can be claimed towards the cost of routine dental work through the treatment benefit scheme run by the Department of Social Welfare.

The following are examples of non-routine dental work:

Bridgework - Dental treatment consisting of an enamel-retained bridge or a tooth-supported bridge is allowable.

Crowns - These are restorations fabricated outside the mouth and are permanently cemented to existing tooth tissue.

Tip Replacing - This is regarded as a crown where a large part of the tooth needs to be replaced and the replacement is made outside the mouth.

Veneers/Rembrant Type Etched Fillings

Endodontics / Root Canal Treatment

Gold Inlays - These are a smaller version of a gold crown. (Only allowable if fabricated outside the mouth ).

Orthodontic Treatment -This involves the provision of braces and similar treatments.

Periodontal Treatment

Surgical Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth - Relief is allowable when undertaken in a hospital, or by a dentist in a dental surgery. The removal of teeth in any other circumstances does not qualify.

Relief for non-routine dental expenses can be claimed in the same manner as for other health expenses as described above. However there is an additional requirement that your dentist sign and certify a Form Med 2.

Only the amounts certified on the Med 2 can be included as part of the overall health expense claim. However, the Med 2 does not need to be sent to Revenue when claiming relief.

The Med 2 should be kept as with all other medical expense receipts for a period of six years. Revenue can choose to carry out a detailed examination of your claim at any time during this six year period and where supporting documentation is not available they can deny the tax relief. If this happens you may have to pay back the amount of tax relief claimed and could also be subject to interest and penalties.

If you travel overseas to obtain dental treatment then the same rules will apply. Only non-routine dental work will qualify for relief. The dentist must also be a qualified practitioner in the country in which he operates and must additionally sign and certify a Form Med 2.

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